TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson's agent has responded to a report that suggested the Blue Jays made a multi-year contract extension to his client earlier this year.
Fancred's Jon Heyman reported on Thursday afternoon that Donaldson was offered a three-year deal in the neighborhood of $75 million. Dan Lozano took the rare step of issuing a public denial.
"Just as in February, when Jon Heyman misreported information 'according to friends' of Josh Donaldson, he once again is incorrect regarding contract negotiations between Josh and the Blue Jays," Lozano wrote in a statement issued by MVP Sports Group.
"The fact is that the team never extended an offer to Josh, no years or dollars were ever specifically discussed, and it's unfair to Josh for someone to repeatedly misrepresent his business affairs citing their 'beliefs.' This is not the first time Jon has been reckless in his reporting about an MVP Sports Group client, and I believe it's clear his motivations have less to do with the truth than they do with his other agenda."
The Blue Jays traded Donaldson to the Indians on Friday in exchange for a player to be named, who is believed to be injured right-hander Julian Merryweather. It has been well-documented that Toronto's front office sat down with Donaldson and his representatives to discuss the possibility of a new deal in Spring Training.
General manager Ross Atkins has never commented on the record about whether the Blue Jays made an actual offer, but he previously alluded to the fact that both sides knew exactly where the other stood in negotiations. The insinuation seems to be that both parties at least had exploratory talks, which included general parameters of what a deal might look like.
Donaldson is set to hit free agency at the end of the season. He is no longer eligible to receive the approximately $18 million qualifying offer because he was traded during his contract year. The former American League MVP is currently on the 10-day disabled list with the Indians and he is expected to return later this month.
The kids are all right
There haven't been a lot of feel-good moments in this disappointing season for the Blue Jays, but rookie first baseman Rowdy Tellez provided one on Wednesday night against the Rays.
Tellez doubled to the alley in right-center field on the first pitch he saw in the big leagues. His pinch hit came two weeks after his mother lost her battle with cancer. It was an emotional moment for the 23-year-old, as he pointed the sky after reaching second and later wrote her name in the infield dirt.
"I was just trying not to cry," an emotional Tellez admitted after the game.
The following day, Tellez was rewarded with the first start of his Major League career. He was joined in the lineup by rookie catcher Reese McGuire, who was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day alongside right-hander Justin Shafer.
McGuire became the fourth catcher on the Blue Jays' roster alongside fellow rookie Danny Jansen, backup Luke Maile and veteran Russell Martin, who is finishing the year primarily at third base. McGuire might not have an opportunity to receive a lot of playing time, but the club wanted him around to learn alongside the pitching staff and ease his way into a big league routine.
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Manager John Gibbons also didn't want McGuire or Tellez sitting on the bench for too long before at least getting a start under their belts.
"I think that's the best way to do it, get them in there as soon as possible," Gibbons said. "Because they're all anxious. Plus, you don't want them too far removed from playing. If you sit a week, it doesn't take much to throw you a little out of whack in this game."
Wait and see for Stroman
Right-hander Marcus Stroman will not start Sunday's series finale against the Indians, but the Blue Jays are still unsure whether he will be able to pitch again before the end of the season. Stroman has been plagued by a blister on his right middle finger for the last month and the club is considering whether he should be shut down for 2018.
"He won't pitch Sunday," Gibbons said. "Stay tuned."
Left-hander Thomas Pannone is expected to start Sunday's series finale in place of Stroman. Pannone made two starts for the Blue Jays in August, including one game that saw him carry a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Orioles.